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Strength Training Intervention for Breast Cancer Survivors and the Effects on Lymphedema Status

This study is ongoing, but not recruiting participants.
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Information provided by:
University of Pennsylvania Identifier:
First received: September 13, 2005
Last updated: August 15, 2016
Last verified: August 2016

The purpose of the PAL trial is to increase the understanding of the experiences of long-term breast cancer survivors.

Study hypothesis: Strength training will not increase the rate of lymphedema or worsen lymphedema as compared to the non-exercising control participants.

Condition Intervention
Lymphedema Behavioral: Strength training

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Official Title: The PAL Trial (Physical Activity and Lymphedema)

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by University of Pennsylvania:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Specific aim 1: To determine whether there are any changes in lymphedema in breast cancer survivors who participate in a one-year randomized exercise intervention of twice-weekly strength training, as compared to a non-exercising group. [ Time Frame: 1 year ]

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Secondary aim 1: To assess changes in physical functioning of the arms, as measured by tests of range of motion, coordination, pain, and strength that may result from strength training. [ Time Frame: 1 year ]
  • Secondary aim 2: To assess changes in body composition that may occur from strength training. [ Time Frame: 1 year ]
  • Secondary aim 3: To assess self-reported changes in health related quality of life, sleep, fatigue, self-esteem, optimism, life satisfaction, sexual function, body image, social support, and general quality of life. [ Time Frame: 1 year ]
  • Secondary aim 4: To assess changes in psychosocial mediators of exercise behavior, as well as achievement of outcome expectancies that may occur from participation in strength training. [ Time Frame: 1 year ]
  • Secondary aim 5: To assess changes in biomarkers related to breast cancer, among the participants who start the study with a BMI over 25. [ Time Frame: 1 year ]

Enrollment: 295
Study Start Date: October 2005
Estimated Study Completion Date: January 2017
Estimated Primary Completion Date: January 2017 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Intervention Details:
    Behavioral: Strength training
    13 weeks of supervised strength training (twice weekly for 90 minutes per session), 39 weeks of unsupervised strength training (twice weekly for 90 minutes per session)
  Show Detailed Description


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   Female
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Women without lymphedema must be 1-5 years post breast cancer diagnosis
  • Women with lymphedema must be 1-15 years post breast cancer diagnosis
  • Women with lymphedema must have stable lymphedema. ONE of the following:

    • 0-40>10% girth volume difference between the affected and non- affected limb for a non-dominant arm
    • 6-40% girth volume difference between the affected and non- affected limb for a dominant arm inter-limb discrepancy in volume or circumference at the point of greatest visible difference OR swelling or obscuration of anatomic architecture upon close inspection OR pitting edema.

      • 2 cm circumference difference
    • A prior clinical diagnosis of lymphedema and having had any prior intensive lymphedema therapy on the affected arm

As well as ALL of the following four conditions:

  • Women with Lymphedema must have ALL of the following:

    • No recorded arm girth change of 15% or greater within the three months.
    • No more than one lymphedema related infection requiring antibiotics within the past 3 months.
    • Participation in all Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) without lymphedema exacerbation for the past 3 months.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • For ALL participants (with and without lymphedema)

    • No medical conditions or medications that would prohibit participation in an exercise program or would negatively impact our ability to test our primary aims
    • Not morbidly obese (body mass index >50 kg/m2)
    • No plans for additional (e.g. reconstructive) surgery during the study period
    • No bilateral breast cancers (because this prohibits our ability to assess the primary outcome of interest)
    • No strength training or other upper body resistive exercise within the past year
    • Not planning to move away from the area over the next year
    • Not pregnant or lactating or planning to become pregnant during the study
    • Among women who have given birth: at least 6 months post pregnancy and at least 3 months post lactation
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00194363

United States, Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, 19104
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Pennsylvania
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Principal Investigator: Kathryn Schmitz, PhD, MPH University of Pennsylvania
  More Information

Publications automatically indexed to this study by Identifier (NCT Number):
Responsible Party: Kathryn H. Schmitz/Principal Investigator, University of Pennsylvania Identifier: NCT00194363     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: R01CA106851-01 ( U.S. NIH Grant/Contract )
Study First Received: September 13, 2005
Last Updated: August 15, 2016

Keywords provided by University of Pennsylvania:
breast cancer
breast cancer survivors
strength training
breast cancer survivorship

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Lymphatic Diseases processed this record on July 21, 2017